"Hey, B, "I said to my son as he was sprawled out on the couch in the family room staring at his phone, "I headed to the Adidas Employee store, wanna come with?"
"No thanks," he said, continuing his very important Snapchat convo without even looking up.
I paused for a moment waiting for him to continue, to tell me why he couldn't/would't/didn't want to join me as an Adidas pass doesn't come along every day. But he didn't elaborate. And I appreciated that.
In general, I'm not a get-together instigator. But when COVID first hit and we were stuck in isolation, I realized I was missing one thing—playing tennis. Not only did I miss the physical outlet, but I missed the connection with my friends, many of whom I regularly saw on the tennis court. So when the restrictions allowed, I was ready to play. But with no organized clinics or matches, I realized that if I wanted to play, I would have to make it happen. I became the Marie Kondo of tennis, sending out multiple texts a day asking others to play in effort to organize matches and find my joy. It became a challenge to fit the correct number of people into the available time slots; Sometimes it was last minute in between rain showers, and I just wanted a quick yes or no to my inquiry to availability or interest. But I got much more.
I can’t. I am taking my parents to the airport.
I wish I could. I have a hair appointment.
Sorry, I have to pick my dog up from the vet.
No, I have physical therapy....a garden club meeting......a birthday lunch.
I get it. Stopping at “No" is hard.
I spent years saying no to get together’s, or events for many reasons. The food selection, the timing, and my ever-increasing discomfort at the sideways glances over my emaciated frame kept me confined to my small, safe group of friends. I became a master of declining invitations and requests with long, drawn out excuses, usually using my kids and their pressing needs as my cover. I was uncomfortable saying no without turning myself inside out to explain myself. I felt exposed without the armored protection of excuses to cover my insecurity about...everything.
Over the past several years, I have finally become more at ease with who I am (and the fact I am fifty-ish has helped). I have become more comfortable with simply declining the many things that come my way. Primarily to stuff, I can't do, and sometimes things I don't want to.
No, but thank you for including me.
No, but I appreciate the offer.
No, I'm unavailable.
Truthful, straightforward, and kind feels right to me and respectful to the person asking. So please invite me, but if I can't, I will spare you info about my brow wax or my newsletter deadline and just say no.
Although I’ll rarely say “no" to playing 🎾 (2020-21, along with my fellow Yes-ers).